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Strachey's A Dictionarie of the Indian Language

Smith's Vocabulary of Indian words

Weroances and Their Tribes

English Observers

William Strachey' s Description of Critters in the Chesapeake Bay

Henry Spelman, Relation of Virginia, 1609


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Who are they?

Admirandal Narratio
Admirandal Narratio
The Native American group in the Chesapeake region, known collectively as the Powhatans, left no written records of what their life was like before the Europeans visited them. It is only through archaeology and the writings of men like Captain John Smith, William Strachey, Thomas Hariot, Henry Spelman, Gabriel Archer, and others that we can glean how the Powhatans may have lived.

The Towne of Pomeiooc
The Towne of Pomeiooc
The name "Powhatans" has been applied to all of the Algonquian-speaking Indians in Tidewater Virginia. In the decade before English settlement, Chief Powhatan, also known as Wahunsonacock, inherited six to nine tribes, which included the Powhatans, Pamunkeys, Mattaponis, Arrohastecks, Appomatucks, and Youghtamunds. He also united other tribes, either by conquest or threat of conquest, and formed a confederacy. The tribes of the confederacy provided military support and paid taxes in the form of food, pelts, copper, or pearls. The Powhatan villages were located on Virginia's coastal plain. The boundaries of the Powhatan confederacy reached from the Potomac River, west to the fall line of Virginia; which was the boundary between the Coastal Plains and the Piedmont; and south to the Virginia-North Carolina border. All villages were located near a source of water. As viewed by William Strachey,"Their habitations or townes are for the most part by the rivers, or not far distant from fresh springs, comonly upon a rice of a hill, that they may overlook the river, ..." It is believed that between 13, 000 and 14, 300 Powhatans lived in Virginia when the English arrived in 1607.




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